A Wounded Heart
A Wounded Heart
The disciples and close friends of Jesus were consumed with a prevailing, singular yearning such that their lives were lived as ones who had been exiled. Their freedom from the entanglements of this life and this age enabled them to love their brothers, sisters, and neighbors with reckless abandon. So often in their writings to one another, we see this common yearning – an eager expectation for their Bridegroom, King, and Judge to return to the earth.
This “eager expectation” pervades the New Testament and defines what it means to belong to Christ. “Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28 RSV). “You are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7). “Deny ungodliness and worldly desires . . . looking [eagerly] for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13). “Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life” (Jude 1:21).
Do we anxiously and eagerly long for the return of Jesus, or are we content with rhetoric without heart reality?
I can imagine the disciples often remembering the words of Jesus in Matthew 9:15:
“And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
(Matthew 9:15 NKJV)
The disciples were utterly wounded when their best friend and Lord left them. Though they were grateful for the forgiveness of sins, the giving of the Spirit, and the power of God in miracles, their hearts continued to burn, yearn, and ache for their Bridegroom’s return. For the disciples, the culmination of their lives was not their success in ministry. They remembered the way Jesus’ eyes moved and how He looked when He was excited or discouraged. They had vivid memories of late nights and early mornings with Him. They remembered the inflection in His voice when He was tender towards them. They wanted the Man that they knew so well back with them once again, and they were willing to pay the ultimate price to bear witness to who He really was so that as many others could come into friendship with Him as they did.
Mourning for the bridegroom does not mean that every day must be dreary and bleak, nor is mourning an emotional state of hopeless depression or perpetual sadness. The disciples were evidence of that. As believers in their same God and ones with their same hope, we too should mourn just as they did.
But why are our hearts cut off from this same mourning?
Mourning, longing, and desire for Jesus can only come from the place of first knowing Him. We can’t make your heart groan or long. We can’t fall in love with the return of Jesus until we fall in love with the Man Jesus.
We’ve filled ourselves with lesser pleasures in hopes of satisfaction over and over again and even developed theological systems to distance our hearts from the arrow or wound of Jesus, the Man from Nazareth, not being on this earth with us. Are we ones that love His appearing?
“Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
(2 Timothy 4:8 NKJV)
We only miss those we know. If we truly know Him and love Him, we will miss Him. Love always mourns and longs in absence. In this day and age when it is so easy to be pacified by a thousand lesser pleasures, may we be ones who begin to get to know Him and say “He is worth it. There is something that truly satisfies. I want Him here with us again.”